Although it may feel like the worst of the downturn are behind you, it still pays to be frugal during the festive season. Whether through making a few cutbacks in your household budget or being creative in your gift purchases, it is possible to cut your spending without cutting back on Christmas cheer. So Scrooge, please step aside; here’s a quick rundown.
Save Money on Gifts
One effective way to cut back on expenses is to offer gift cards or store coupons for family members. Not only will this enable you to spend a fixed amount and budget appropriately, it can also help ease the temptation they might have to spend too much during the post-Christmas sales period. Many major retailers still offer vouchers and so it is worth trying. Think back to previous conversations to identify what the favorite stores are for each person you are buying for. You can then shop around in the same mall or online to find gift vouchers for each store. You can enclose the voucher in a tasteful card and further save money by buying these in packages of ten or twenty.
Draw Up a Christmas Budget
In addition, it is advisable to plan ahead for the festive Season. If you are really serious about saving money this year why not draw up a list of all of the items on which you usually spend money. This should be comprehensive and include such things as decorations, groceries and travel. Watch out for those everyday items that are used more during the holiday season, for instance utilities. Now look through the list and see what can be reduced easily. See whether you can pick the low hanging fruit first – you might find that it’s possible to save without making a significant sacrifice.
Reduce Costs Item by Item
Next, commit to reducing the cost of each item – if you plan ahead you can be less tempted to splurge or overspend when the tasks pile up. It can also be a good idea to share your budget with family members so that you can be sure that they can also know the budget for each item. You can use last year’s expenditure as a point of reference. Make multiple copies and pin them up around the house if necessary. The key thing is to find a way to remind yourself to form good habits and stick to the budget that you drew up and your cost-reduction plan.
By following these few steps you may be pleasantly surprised when the festive season is over and you look over your accounts. By effective planning and budgeting, it is possible to avoid the spending guilt and eliminate needless expenditure. You can have confidence to enter the New Year with a spring in your step and a load off your mind.